Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Delhi Government Adds Another Rs. 288 Cr to J&K Lake Conservation Program

Budget for conservation has always been plentiful but, as before, greedy people with myopic vision will squander the money for personal gains

GoI’s NLCP skips Anchar Lake in Rs 386 Cr plan

Abid Bashir (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: In a major move to conserve wetlands and lakes in Kashmir, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India has sanctioned a project under National Lake Conservation Program and released the first installment of Rs 298 crore. However the Anchar Lake, which is on the verge of extinction due to encroachments and pollution, is not mentioned in the program.

Deputy Chief Minister and Urban Development Minister Tara Chand said a comprehensive project report on the conservation of Kashmiri wetlands and lakes was submitted to the Government of India.

Tara Chand said that the project had been sanctioned by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, GoI under NLCP. The Ministry has provided Rs 298 crore as initial assistance. The work under the program has already started, the minister said.
He said that the first phase of work involves sewerage system around the Dal Lake hydraulic works, removal of encroachments, cleaning of channels, solid waste management, afforestation and conservation works in the catchment area of Dal Lake.

The project involves acquisition of land and structures owned by the people within Dal and Nigeen Lakes.

Around 10,000 resident families have been identified for rehabilitation. The state government will monitor the project itself, the Deputy CM said. More than 1295 families have been shifted and rehabilitated from the Dal Lake.

The minister said 500 kanal of land had been acquired to rehabilitate the families living inside Dal Lake.

The rehabilitation program includes shifting of 13 hotels which exist inside the lake, he said.

About the conservation of Wular Lake, the government has involved Wildlife department and formulated a comprehensive Management Action Plan through a consultant.

The plan involves Rs 386.39 crore and has been submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, the Deputy CM said.

For Manasbal Lake, the encroachments on the peripheries especially in the areas like

Gratabla, Kondabal and Qazibagh have been removed and the areas have been fenced to avoid further encroachment, he said. A separate Development Authority has been set up for conservation and development of Wular and Manasbal lakes.

About the Brari Nambal, the minister said it is a lagoon in the heart of Srinagar which was fed by Dal through Nalamar channel. In early 80s the Nalamar channel was converted into a road. This lagoon now gets water only through Nowpora channel. A machine has been installed between this lagoon and the River Jhelum to flush out this lagoon.

For checking the pollution and encroachments on River Jehlum, the people living in sheds or in boats have been removed and rehabilitated at Bemina and Noorbagh, the Deputy CM said. So far 1344 families have been shifted from River Jehlum and rehabilitated in various colonies.

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